Peas are small round leguminous vegetables that grow in a row,
inside a pod - hence the common expression 'like two peas in a
pod'. The garden pea's pods are approximately 2-3 inches long.
Standard garden peas are rich green in color, however, there are
other varieties such as black peas and black eyes peas which are
not green. Despite the name of the peas, they are not actually
black. Please refer to the 'types of peas' section for further
information, descriptions and facts.
It is believed that the history of peas dates back centuries,
possibly as early as 5700BC. Peas have provided people with
their high nutritional value for years! They are grown on a
plant, they grow rapidly and require a trellis as support
throughout the growth process. This legume vegetable is ready to
eat once per year for approximately 3-4 weeks, at the beginning
of the summer.
Storing and Picking Peas
Fresh peas are not always available all year round,
obviously depending on the country in which they are grown. Peas
are usually ready for eating during the early summer time for
approximately 3-4 weeks.
When buying fresh peas, look
for healthy pea pods that are not limp nor wilting. The pea pods
should feel firm and appear vibrant. The pod color should be
rich green. If you are unable to find fresh varieties, try to
buy a good make of frozen peas.
Check the packaging to
find out as much information as possible about the picking of
the peas. Some brands now state the time taken between picking
and freezing peas. The quicker they are frozen from picking, the
better as their freshness and nutritional value will have been
Preparing and Shelling Peas
How to shell peas:
Shelling is very easy. Simply split peas
by pressing open the pea pods and pushing them out using your
thumb. Some varieties, such as mangetouts, will need to be
topped and tailed before popping the pod open for shelling.
Follow the instructions above
'how to shell pea pods'. Boil peas in rapid boiling water for a
few minutes. They will float to the top during the cooking
process. It is easy to cook fresh peas, they can be microwaved,
steamed, and in many pea recipes, they are baked.
These vegetables make an excellent addition to rice, pasta,
lasagna or vegetable bakes, omelettes, stir fries, soup, sauce
or dips. The nutrition of peas is high and they provide one of
your five a day. They taste delicious, some varieties are sweet
which are appealing and ideal vegetables for kids.
This vegetable compliments many other foods really well
including chicken, fish, and other vegetables. The combination
of peas and carrots is particularly popular.
Types of Peas
There are many kinds of peas, all deliciously tasty and packed
full of goodness. The following varieties are some of the most
Petits Pois Peas
- this variety is delicious and very popular. Petits pois are
baby peas, a very small dwarf variety of pea that is commonly
available either canned or frozen. This variety is low in
calories - see the calorie guide below for details.
- this type is a lovely sweet pea variety that is eaten whole.
Mangetout can be eaten raw and are excellent served in salads.
Mangetouts are also very good for stir frys.
Peas - this variety are sometimes known as black eyed beans.
They are dried peas or beans. This dried variety of pea are
small, cream colored with a black eye or spot on them. Blackeyed
peas are commonly used in Indian cooking. They are very tasty
and have a creamy texture.
Peas - the black peas variety is a purple podded pea which is
sometimes known by the names of parched or maple peas. Black
peas are often eaten sprinkled with salt and vinegar from a cup.
They are traditionally found in the North of England and they
are often served at fairgrounds.
Peas - this variety are larger than garden peas and the texture
is a great deal softer. Marrowfats are a little paler than the
rich green garden pea. This variety are often canned which makes
them very simple and quick to simply heat up in a saucepan,
Peas - this is another variety of dried peas. They are beige
colored, rounded and have a delicious nutty taste.
other popular types include mushy, butter, English, pigeon,
sweet, snow, sugar, and sugar snap peas.